Tsehai Johnson is a Colorado based artist whose interests explore the boundaries between public and private life. Born in Ethiopia, Johnson received a BA in Art History from Reed College, a BFA in Ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art, and a MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her extensive exhibitions include Denver Art Museum, (Colorado), Biennale Internationale de Vallauris, Magnelli Museum (France), White Columns (New York), and the World Ceramic Biennale (Korea). Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver and recently completed a federal Art in Architecture Commission in Colorado. She is the recipient of a Colorado Council of the Arts Fellowship and residencies in The Netherlands, Spain, Iceland and in Germany.
My installations, objects and interactive projects animate and decorate a space, revealing both a sense of order and offering a framework for the exploration of social values and individual behavior. Much of my inquiries, research and creative practice explores the boundaries between public and private life. Driving this inquiry are several converging interests; from the clash between fantasy’s perfection and the messiness of reality, the close juxtaposition of labor and pleasure in domestic space, and finally an exploration of how the logic and organizing principles of everyday objects reveal the very mutability of life. The domestic objects, daily events and everyday rituals that serve as influence for my work are not independent of time and situation and often highlight the mundane aspects of daily life. As an artist interested in interactive projects I serve as the catalyst to set up opportunities for social engagement amongst groups that might not otherwise meet. Overall my approach to socially engaged art involves staging interactive events where I do not control the outcome. All my creative inquiries reveal varied actions, drifting meanings, fluid attachments and quotidian situations.